Financial expert Mr. Okechukwu Unegbu has called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to penalize banks that permit customers to operate accounts without providing their BVN and NIN. Unegbu, a former president of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), conveyed this sentiment in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Sunday.
His remarks were prompted by the recent directive from the CBN to freeze all bank accounts lacking a Bank Verification Number (BVN) and National Identification Number (NIN) starting from April 2024. The directive was reportedly communicated through a circular issued by the CBN to all Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), jointly signed by Chibuzo Efobi, Director of Payments System Management Department, and Haruna Mustapha, Director of Financial Policy and Regulation Department.
The CBN also mandated the electronic revalidation of all BVN or NIN associated with accounts/wallets by January 31, 2024. The central bank cited these measures as part of its efforts to enhance financial system stability and reinforce Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures across financial institutions.
Unegbu argued that instead of punishing account holders, the CBN should impose substantial sanctions on the Deposit Money Banks responsible for non-compliance. He criticized the banks for neglecting the directive to ensure that every account holder possesses both BVN and NIN, attributing their failure to comply to the desire for increased deposits.
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